Evander McGilvary's Translation of Matthew, Luke, John, and Acts into Lao (1895)

For a few short years in the early 1890s, Evander McGilvary (son of pioneer missionary Daniel McGilvary) worked in the Chiang Mai area of what is today northern Thailand.  But at the end of the 19th century, the people of that area were linguistically and culturally Lao and McGilvary's primary ministry task was translating the New Testament into the Lao language. He never completed that task due to his 1894 resignation from ministry which I have written about in "Evander McGilvary in Northern Thailand: An Honest “Heretic” and the “Conservatives” Who Wanted to Keep Him," Journal of Presbyterian History 100, no. 1 (Spring / Summer 2022): 4-19.

mcgilvary lao matthew screenshotjpg

When I did the research for that article, I learned that McGilvary hoped to continue working on that translation when he returned to the United States.  However, I never saw evidence of how far he got in his translation.  When looking for images of Evander McGilvary recently, I found that he actually got pubished his Lao translation of Matthew, Luke, John, and Acts.  And it has been digitized!   You can find it at the Hathi Trust via this link and I have also attempted to embed the document below.  Print copies can be found via WorldCat.

"An Appeal for Sound Missionaries in Siam" by Boon Mark Gittisarn (December 29, 1949)

In the late 1940s, the Protestant churches in Thailand were in transition. American Presbyterian missionaries who had left during the war had returned and expected to pick up where they left off in 1941. However, they failed to sufficiently account for the wishes and expectations of Thai Christian leaders who had overseen their own churches for many years during the missionaries' absence during the war.
Boon Mark Gittsarn was one of those Thai leaders who was not content for missionaries to call the shots. Boon Mark left his denomination, the Church of Christ in Thailand, and resigned his pastorate at Second Church in Bangkok to start a new, independent church simply called Bangkok Church. The American Presbyterian Mission, which had founded and was heavily invested in the Church of Christ in Thailand, was headed in an ecumenical and modernistic direction that de-emphasized evangelism in favor of schools, hospitals, and development work.
But Boon Mark was all about evangelism and had strongly fundamentalist leanings. As indicated in the article below, at the end of 1949, Boon Mark connected with the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC), an organization started by American fundamentalist Carl McIntire in direct opposition to the World Council of Churches. This connection provided for Boon Mark an avenue to amplify his complaints about the American Presbyterian Mission to a broader American Christian (fundamentalist) public who would have been sympathetic to his concerns. The article below was written by Boon Mark and appeared on page 4 of McIntire's newspaper, "Christian Beacon" on Dec 29, 1949.

Conservative in Theology, Liberal in Spirit: Modernism and the American Presbyterian Mission in Thailand, 1891-1941 (PhD thesis – PDF free download)

As an outgrowth of teaching church history in Bangkok, in 2020 I completed a Ph.D. in World Christianity at Centre for the Study of World Christianity at The University of Edinburgh. 

The title is "Conservative in Theology, Liberal in Spirit: Modernism and the American Presbyterian Mission in Thailand, 1891-1941" and a full-text PDF is now available for free download at


It is my hope that this piece of research will be both interesting and informative for both Thai Christians, missionaries to Thailand, and others who want to see the Gospel advance in Thailand and around the world.  Hopefully, this thesis will at some point appear (in modified form) as a published book.

1935 Annual Meeting of the American Presbyterian Mission in Siam Mission (Margaret and Kenneth Landon Papers (SC-38), box 348, folder 1458, Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois)1935 Annual Meeting of the American Presbyterian Mission in Siam Mission (Margaret and Kenneth Landon Papers (SC-38), box 348, folder 1458, Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois)

When the King of Thailand Jammed with the Baptists

In the early days of Protestant mission work in Thailand, it was common for missionaries to meet Thai royalty, who often kept themselves apprised of the missionaries’ work.  As the country changed and grew, and the 20th century progressed, such relations became less common. 

In the early 1960s, however, a visiting Southern Baptist choir had a unique audience with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, illustrating the goodness of God’s provision as well as the kind generosity His Majesty and his love of music. Ron Hill, a longtime missionary to Thailand who was involved in early Southern Baptist work in that country relates the story as follows.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama 9) and King Vajiralongkorn (Rama 10),  September 4, 1964

Mary Cort's Strange Christmas in Siam, 1875

 Phetchaburi, Thailand


by Mary L. Cort

Petchaburi, Siam,

Jan 4. 1875


A Tropical Climate.

The 25th of December was the strangest Christmas I ever spent in my life. There was no Wintry weather outside, no cold or snow, but sunshine, birds, and flowers. The natives were still busy with their rice harvest, and the trees were still gathering sweetness for their luscious fruits. The air was warm and balmy, and the fragrant hay filled the stalls for the cattle just as in the long ago when the Christ-child laid his sacred head among the sweet dry grasses, and became our blessed human Saviour. How glad I am that in ages past he was born in Bethlehem, and we have a Christmas Day to rejoice in—even one in which the loving Father gave to his children the "unspeakable gift.” O that Christ might be formed in the hearts of this people, and a glad Christmas dawn for darkened Siam! I have no doubt the sunshine of that olden time bathed with morning light the very hills that stand about me where I write. For was not Asia the birthplace of our Lord, and did they not see his star in the East?   Who knoweth from whence the wise men journeyed, or whether the gold, the frankincense, and the myrrh, were, taken from Persia, from India, or Siam? But this I do know, that once again, in the fulness of time there will be a bringing of gifts to the Saviour, and that then many from this land will cast their bright crowns at his feet! 

excerpt from Mary L. Cort, "MISSIONARY LIFE IN SIAM". New York Evangelist (1830-1902), April 29, 1875, 46, 2.

photo credit: Kritmongkholrat